Thursday, June 28, 2007

Media Polls vs. Online Rankings, 2008 Presidential Candidates

I read this article about the impact of the internet on the 2008 presidential election, about how the internet is coming to be to the 2008 election what television was to Kennedy in 1960. I was impressed that the author mentioned Howard Dean's 2003 rise on the internet, when this analogy first surfaced, and felt confident that Ron Paul's internet presence would receive his just notice as well. Not so.

That prompted me to consider just how close all the offline media polls are tracking with the online activity of our favorite candidates. After several hours of digging around in the data, I present to you: more charts. Charts reflecting the offline media poll rankings of each candidate among his or her party, and comparing the data to the respective candidate's online rankings. So here we go.

The charts below compare the offline media polling numbers to the online world rankings for each candidate in their party. The first one shows the offline media poll rankings for Democrats during the month of June, 2007. As you can see, it's pretty consistently Clinton-Obama-Edwards in that order, with Clinton hitting the upper 30s-lower 40s, Obama hovering in the mid-20s, Edwards in the mid-10s, Richardson getting an anemic 5% average and Kucinich down around the 2-3% mark as usual.

Now look at their online rankings (below). The three frontrunners are still frontrunners just in differing orders, and the second tier candidates are showing second-tier rankings. Obama and Edwards seem to be vying for the lead with an occassional spike by Clinton. Notice both Biden's and Richardson's online rankings track pretty closely with the offline media polls, but they're the only two candidates to do so among Democrats. It may not be very obvious on this chart, but while Kucinich is ranked down in the 2-3 point range in offline polling, he's achieving somewhere around 10-15% penetration in online Democratic markets. Overall there is not much discrepancy to worry about at this point.

Now let's look at the Republican candidates (below), starting with the offline media poll numbers. Giuliani is solidly out front, with F. Thompson and McCain battling it out for second place. Poor Romney seems to be straddling the second-tier ditch, not quite in the upper ranks but doing a few solid points better than the actual second-tier contenders.

Something is radically askew here. As you can see from the Democratic candidate numbers, the online rankings are off, but not so terribly much that you're in another world. Here, we enter a whole other world. Suddenly the frontrunners are no longer frontrunners, and several second-tier candidates leap into the fore with heightened internet activity. Take a look at the GOP candidates' online rankings.

Ron Paul literally blows the rest of the candidates away, across the board, with second-tier straddler Mitt Romney and only one alleged front-runner, John McCain, coming within spitball range of Paul's online position. Could this possibly portend a showdown between McCain, Paul and Romney in the primaries?

I would expect small deviations like we see in the Democrat numbers to be normal as the world settles in comfortably to the internet age, but nothing so radical as an almost complete flip of the numbers like we see here. Why such a startling discrepancy between media polls and online rankings among the GOP candidates? What is it among republican voters that could cause this sort of chaos in the numbers? I've heard all the cellphone-landline arguments and don't buy it, not when the Democrats have a relatively smooth support transition from media polls to the internet. So what it is, really?


Anonymous said...

Ron Paul R[evoL]ution!
Ron Paul 2008!

Anonymous said...

Good article. Try a different font color though. Your current choice is far too dark.

Ron Paul in 2008 !!!!!!!